Over 3,000 people protested Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Amsterdam on Monday, with rainbow flags flying at half-mast around the city that prides itself on enjoying every kind of freedom.
The brightly dressed crowd chanted “Go home Putin!” during a festive protest opposite the museum where Putin had dinner with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, at the end of his visit to the nation that first legalised gay marriage in 2001.
Protesters were mainly targeting a bill before the Russian parliament that bans homosexual “propaganda” among minors, but also a general rights clampdown in Russia, where Putin is serving his third term as president.
Activists and Western governments have condemned the measure, which provides for fines of up to 500,000 rubles (12,500 euros, $15,830) for any “public act” promoting homosexuality or paedophilia.
“There are no violations of the rights of sexual minorities in Russia,” a defiant Putin said alongside Rutte before heading in to dinner. “These people enjoy full rights and liberties just like everyone else.”
Putin said that gay couples could not produce children and that “Europe and Russia have demographic problems.”
“We need to reach a consensus with this community, we need to agree to work collectively. Don’t insult each other, agree with, understand, each other and develop certain civilised rules,” he said. “I think this is possible.”
Rutte said he had raised concerns over NGO and gay rights with Putin.
“We had a good talk about it,” Rutte said, which testifies “to the good relations between our two countries.”
more here: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/09/russias-putin-faces-thousands-of-pro-lgbt-protesters-in-amsterdam/